Appalachian Basin

Newark Mayor Needs a Natural Gas Primer

Newark, N.J., is joining cities like the Big Apple in converting their municipal sanitation vehicles to natural gas, recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel. In early June, the city’s chief of energy and environment, Joel Sonkin, had this to say about the project:

“Our hope is that this is going to be the first step in eventually cycling out all of our heavyweight vehicles to CNG over the next three to four years… the natural gas trucks, unlike the current diesel fuel models, require less maintenance, will be more efficient, quieter and create less pollution.” (Star Ledger, 6-5-13)

The same article quotes lines from the speech the mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, was scheduled to give at the opening of the new clean fueling station (emphasis added).

In prepared remarks Booker was to have given, he said the city’s “overriding mission is to set a national standard for urban transportation, a goal that includes improving environmental quality through transitioning to clean energy fuels for city vehicle fleets.

Booker added that Newark’s planned new fleet of “cleaner operating CNG-fueled trucks will include garbage trucks and street sweepers.


Maybe Booker doesn’t realize the fuel source that he said provides environmental benefits is largely produced – and has been made affordable – by the process of hydraulic fracturing. This is the very same “clean energy fuel” Josh Fox was talking about in Gasland Part II – a movie that argues natural gas is not a clean option, and that hydraulic fracturing must be banned.

If Mayor Booker wants more natural gas use – owing to its environmental benefits – but opposes the technologies allowing for its production here in the United States, that begs an important question: would this potential future U.S. Senator prefer we import more natural gas from overseas instead of producing it here at home?

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